While India’s entire COVID-19 strategy banks primarily on testing symptomatic persons, Punjab’s testing drive has revealed that 78.17 per cent COVID-19 positive patients in the state are asymptomatic. This is based on assessment of 197 positive cases that had come to light till Thursday.
Out of these 197 persons, as many as 154 were asymptomatic. These 154 were tested only because they were primary contacts of already positive patients who, in fact, were tested only after showing symptoms.
In its fight against coronavirus, Punjab has started a door-to-door drive in hotspots and few other districts to check the residents with suspicious symptoms. Also, it has set up flu corners and made it mandatory to test all those visiting these corners. But with over 78 per cent people being asymptomatic, it is anybody’s guess how much the strategy would be effective.
Mohali Deputy Commissioner Girish Dyalan told the Indian Express that out of 56 positive patients in his district, 52 were asymptomatic. “We have isolated them after they tested positive. But before that they were hale and hearty.
There was no symptom at all. And before their contacts tested positive, they were roaming freely.”
As per reports collected from all the districts in Punjab, most of the patients, who are contacts of symptomatic patients, are asymptomatic without even having signs of cold.
After Mohali, which had 92 per cent coronavirus positive patients who were asymptomatic, in Jalandhar 19 out of 31 were without any symptoms.
In Pathankot, 20 patients out of 24 were without any symptoms. In Nawanshahar, where a resident of Pathlawa village died of COVID-19, all 18 contacts related to him were asymptomatic. Nawanshahar has had 19 patients till date.
Similarly, in Amritsar, out of 11, 6 patients were without symptoms and in Ludhiana out of 11 patients, seven were without symptoms.
“Just that we tested these persons that they came out to be positive. Otherwise they were all asymptomatic. We would have never tested them. It seems we need to change our strategy and it should just be test, test and test. Otherwise, flu corners does not mean much when we have a population that would never report to the flu corner but yet keep spreading the virus,” a functionary of the government said on anonymity. He said the data was baffling.
In Mansa, all 11 patients that tested positive were without symptoms. And the pattern seems to be the same elsewhere too in the state. Five out of six patients in Patiala, all four in Moga, two out of three Faridkot and again two out of three in Ropar showed no symptoms and were only found infected when tested.
Also, all three positive patients from Sangrur, both patients from Fatehgarh Sahib, one out of two in Kapurthala and the single patient in Muktsar were all asymptomatic. Most of the Tablighi Jamatis who tested positive in the state were also asymptomatic.
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